A Scarborough woman who fought cancer is now battling for the age for cervical cancer checks to be dropped from 25 to 20.
Healthcare assistant Lisa Askew, of Burniston, was 31 when she was diagnosed with the disease faced a long and difficult struggle back to health.
Before her diagnosis, Lisa had been ill for around 18 months and was being treated for endometriosis - a condition which affects the lining of the womb.
She was eventually referred to the colposcopy clinic for tests and knew straight away that something was seriously wrong.
Lisa explained: “It was just awful. I sat there asking what was wrong and they wouldn’t answer me. I could see on the screen it didn’t look right.”
When Lisa was told it was cancer just two days later, it felt like her world had fallen apart. She and her husband Andrew had been hoping to start a family, but the cancer was so advanced that there was no time for Lisa to harvest her eggs.
She had to start six weeks of chemotherapy and 25 sessions of radiotherapy at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Lisa nearly stopped the treatment halfway through as it was so awful, but she managed to make it through the full course.
Thankfully it was successful and Lisa was later told she was in remission. However, her fertility was affected as the treatment triggered an early menopause.
Lisa said: “The fertility side of it is the worst thing - and I’m also scared it will come back.
“But I’m a lot more positive than I was - mainly because of the support I’ve had and the fact that I can help people now.”
In the past few years, Lisa has raised around £50,000 for charity and was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch.
She has campaigned tirelessly for the cervical smear age to be lowered from 25 to 20 - taking numerous petitions to Downing Street - and encourages people to ask doctors for a second opinion if they have any doubts about their health.
Lisa said: “Young girls need to be taken seriously. My friend who was 27 was told by doctors she was paranoid when she kept going back - now she’s dead and she leaves a little boy behind.”
Lisa is available to give talks to women’s groups, school groups and clubs.